10 Things You Should Know About “Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience”
The traveling exhibition opens to the public on Friday, July 2, at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.
Editor’s note: Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience has been extended through September 26, 2021. The ending date has been updated below.
Since we first posted that HONOLULU Magazine would be bringing Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience to the Islands, thousands of you signed up for a chance to buy tickets, even before we announced the details of when, where or how much.
Now that it opens to the public this Friday and we’ve gotten a sneak peek of how it all works, here’s everything you need to know to make the most of the experience.
1. Book your ticket in advance
Tickets are sold online only, not at the door. Entry times are staggered in 15-minute increments from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with the exhibit closing one hour after the last entry time (it takes about an hour to experience it). Click whichever date you’re interested in at vangoghhonolulu.com to see what’s available.
2. Don’t be late
There are multiple health and safety guidelines in place, including staggered entry to ensure social distancing. If your slot is at 10 but you show up at 10:15, the 10:15 slot may be sold out and because of capacity limits, the exhibit hall may not be able to accommodate you. If you need to reschedule, you must do so at least 24 hours in advance and pay an $8 rescheduling fee. You can get around this with a Premium ticket ($51.99–$61.99), which allows you to enter up to two hours before or after your scheduled start time as long as it’s during normal exhibit hours.
3. For the cheapest tickets, go with friends during the week
Off-peak times (Monday through Thursday) are $10 less ($4 less for kids ages 5–15) than weekends and holidays. For the best deal, go with a group of eight—it’s $29.99 per person during the week. Find the full breakdown of ticket prices at vangoghhonolulu.com.
4. Be prepared to pay for parking
It’s $12 (cash or credit) to park at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. There’s also a large parking structure down the street for a certain shopping center that may or may not appreciate you parking there. Buy a snack afterward to ease your conscience.
5. Masks must be worn at all times
There’s no eating or drinking allowed in the exhibit, and no re-entry, either, so make sure you can get through an hour inside without any sort of break.
6. There are three parts to the exhibit
When you first enter the experience, you’ll weave through screens with some history of van Gogh’s life as a painter, as well as excerpts from letters to his younger brother, Theo, as classical music plays. These static projections come from right next to the screens, making the textures of the paintings almost realistic. Empty hanging frames give the impression you’re literally moving between the frame and the artwork, slowly immersing yourself into the world of van Gogh’s art. After you pass through this area, there’s a small room with moving projections on the wall above the doorway, creating an otherworldly transition into a long hallway that opens into the main attraction: a large room with projections of hundreds of van Gogh’s works.
7. You can hang out in the immersive space as long as you want
At a media preview, we spent about half an hour watching the paintings evolve on the floor, walls and three columns in the center of the room before they began to eventually repeat. The changes are also just slow enough to get some selfies in but not so slow that it gets boring. You’ll see everything from birds moving across the sky, waves rippling, smoke unfurling, even portraits blinking as new brushstrokes and colors appear. There are also scribbled quotes from van Gogh and British artist David Hockney, who was influenced by the Dutch painter, as well as voiceovers in English and French.
8. Continually walk around
At times, the same images are projected on opposite sides of the room; at other times you’ll get a different view depending on where you stand, so keep moving. The pillars in the center of the room often show an aspect of a painting that makes the entire thing look 3D. There’s no sitting allowed. Keep in mind that once you leave this room, you can’t come back, as the exhibit is one-way.
9. Take photos, not videos
The website FAQs say that videos aren’t permitted, but staffers didn’t seem to mind at the media preview. They will, however, ask you not to use flash, which ruins the vibe. Share your experience on Instagram by tagging @vangoghhonolulu and @honolulumag.
10. There’s a gift shop at the end
Posters, shirts, tote bags, hats, masks—you name it. There’s also a small sitting area just past the gift shop if you wanna soak in those last few minutes of air conditioning before heading back outside.